Nestled on Florida’s southwestern coast, the enchanting city of Venice is a captivating destination renowned for its pristine beaches, charming downtown, and rich history. From its early days as a planned community to its present-day status as a thriving coastal haven, Venice’s history is a tale of ingenuity, natural beauty, and community spirit. Join us as we embark on a journey through time to explore the captivating history of Venice, Florida.

Early Beginnings:
The history of Venice dates back to the early 1900s when the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) sought to create a planned community along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Led by John Nolen, a renowned urban planner and landscape architect, the BLE envisioned a city that would harmoniously blend nature, culture, and community. With its pristine beaches, scenic waterways, and lush greenery, Venice offered the perfect canvas for their vision.

Venice as a City of Canals:
One of the most distinctive features of Venice is its extensive network of canals, reminiscent of the Italian city from which it draws its name. Nolen, inspired by the Italian city’s charm, designed Venice with a series of interconnected canals. These canals not only added a unique character to the city but also provided a means of transportation, recreation, and waterfront living. Today, the canals remain a beloved feature, enhancing the city’s allure and providing residents with a serene coastal lifestyle.

The Venice Army Air Base:
During World War II, Venice played a crucial role in the war effort as it served as the site of the Venice Army Air Base. The air base provided training for pilots, including British Royal Air Force cadets, and played a significant part in the defense of the United States. After the war, the air base was transformed into the Venice Municipal Airport, which continues to serve the community today.

The Venice Fishing Pier and Shark Tooth Capital:
The Venice Fishing Pier, built in 1966, has long been a focal point of the city’s recreational activities. The pier offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts and visitors looking to soak in the coastal ambiance. Additionally, Venice is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World” due to the abundance of prehistoric shark teeth that wash ashore along its beaches. Fossil hunting has become a favorite pastime for residents and visitors alike.

Revitalization and Preservation:
In recent years, Venice has embarked on a revitalization journey, preserving its rich history while embracing modern amenities. The city’s downtown district, known as “The Island,” is a hub of activity with its boutique shops, art galleries, and vibrant dining scene. Historic buildings, such as the Venice Theater and Hotel Venezia, have been lovingly preserved, adding charm and character to the city’s landscape.

The Venice Art Scene:
Venice’s cultural heritage is celebrated through its thriving art scene. The Venice Art Center showcases the talent of local artists and hosts exhibitions and classes, fostering creativity and community engagement. The annual Venice Art Festival, featuring a diverse array of artists and artisans, further highlights the city’s dedication to promoting arts and culture.

Looking Ahead:
As Venice continues to evolve, its future is filled with promise and opportunity. The city’s commitment to sustainable growth, preserving its natural beauty, and nurturing a strong sense of community ensures that Venice will remain a desirable destination for residents and visitors alike. With its timeless beauty, cultural richness, and coastal allure, Venice is poised to create a bright future that honors its past.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43.1 km2), of which 15.3 square miles (39.5 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.5 km2), or 8.19%, is water. The climate of Venice is Humid Subtropical, bordering very closely on a Tropical Savanna climate and features pronounced wet and dry seasons.


Historical population
Census Pop. Note
1930 309
1940 507 64.1%
1950 727 43.4%
1960 3,444 373.7%
1970 6,648 93.0%
1980 12,153 82.8%
1990 16,922 39.2%
2000 17,764 5.0%
2010 20,748 16.8%
2020 25,463 22.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]

As of the 2020 census, there was a population of 25,463, with 12,521 households.

1.2% of the population were under 5 years old, 6.4% were under 18 years old, and 61.9% was 65 years and older.

Of that population, 92.8% were white, 0.6% black or African American, 0.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.4% Asian, 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 3.4% two or more races, and 3.1% Hispanic or Latino.

3,204 veterans lived in the city and 9.5% of the population were foreign born persons. 54.6% of the population were female persons.

90.9% of the households had a computer and 81.3% had a broadband internet subscription.

The median household income was $61,953 with a per capita income of $60,284. 6.8% of the population lived below the poverty threshold.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Venice has been listed in several publications as being the “Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World”. It hosts the Shark’s Tooth Festival every year to celebrate the abundance of fossilized shark’s teeth that can be found on its coastal shores.

Museums and other points of interest

The following structures and areas are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Theatre and music

  • Venice Theatre is the largest per-capita community theater in the United States with an operating budget of almost three million dollars.[23]


Venice’s newspaper is the Venice Gondolier Sun. It is published twice each week and has a circulation of 13,500 copies.[24][25]

Tampa Bay’s Univision affiliate WVEA-TV is licensed to Venice, though it is based in Tampa and broadcasts from Riverview.




  • I-75.svg I-75 – the only freeway in the area, I-75 runs through the mainly inland areas of the City of Venice.
  • US 41.svg U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) – The Major North-South Route through the City.
  • US 41.svg U.S. 41 Bypass (Venice Bypass) – Forms a Bypass Loop of Venice Island, and the City of Venice.
  • Florida 681.svg State Road 681 – Venice Connector, this road was formerly the southern terminus of Interstate 75 in the early 1980s.
  • Sarasota County 762.svg County Road 762 (Laurel Road) – Runs East-West and connects US-41 to I-75 in the Northern Sections of the City.
  • CR 765 jct.svg County Road 765 (Jacaranda Boulevard) – Runs North-South, skirting the Western City Limits, connecting I-75 to US-41, southwest of the City.
  • CR 772 jct.svg County Road 772 (Venice Avenue) – The Primary East-West Roadway in the City, connects US-41 to US-41 Bypass and Jacaranda Blvd (CR-765).


Venice Municipal Airport is a city managed public-use airport located two miles (3.2 km) south of the central business district. The nearest airport with Commercial Airline Service is Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport.